Series of violence in Syria results in 90 deaths

Ninety people, including women and children, were killed in air raids carried out by the Syrian army in the city of Aleppo, adding up to the list of more than a hundred thousand casualties in the nearly three-year civil war. The raids, which targeted opposition strongholds, took place Saturday, CNN reported Sunday. “The situation is very urgent,” an unnamed medical staffer from a field hospital in Aleppo told CNN. “We need U.S. pressure on the […]

Pakistan’s privatization tsar embarks on quest to revive economy

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD Sun Feb 2, 2014 6:55pm EST (Reuters) – Mohammad Zubair was on a cruise dinner with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Thailand when he was offered the hardest job of his life: privatizing a huge chunk of the economy while fighting resistance from the opposition and trade unions. When the prime minister left the table, a colleague of former IBM executive Zubair rushed to his side. “Are you mad? Three […]

Three explosions rock Yemeni capital Sanaa

SANAA Sun Feb 2, 2014 6:46pm EST (Reuters) – Three large explosions were heard in Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Sunday, close to the defense ministry, the central bank and the former president’s home, locals told Reuters. “The explosions were followed by heavy gunfire,” a resident in the area said. Residents added that the third explosion occurred near former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s house which is also within close proximity to the French embassy. Security vehicles […]

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman dies from suspected drug overdose

(Reuters) – Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the leading actors of his generation, who won an Academy Award for his title role in the film “Capote,” was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday in what a New York police source described as an apparent drug overdose. Hoffman, 46, was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his Greenwich Village apartment by police responding to a 911 call, and Emergency Medical Service workers declared […]

China: Japan’s ‘hype’ on air defence zone spreads tension

(Reuters) – China does not feel threatened by countries in Southeast Asia and is optimistic about the situation in the disputed South China Sea, the Foreign Ministry said, warningJapan not to “spread rumors” it plans a new air defense identification zone. China alarmed Japan, South Korea and the United States last year when it announced an air defense identification zone for the East China Sea, covering a group of uninhabited islands at the center of a bitter ownership spat between China and […]

Catalan leader says Spain cannot block independence vote: report

(Reuters) – Spain cannot block a non-binding vote on Catalan independence that could become the basis for negotiations on Catalonia’s future, the president of the northeastern region said in an interview published on Sunday. “If I call a consultation, not to declare the independence of Catalonia nor to break with the Spanish state, but to know the opinion of the citizens of this country, a knee-jerk anti-democratic response from Spain would be pretty bad and disgraceful in the view […]

Syrian forces kill 83 in barrel bomb attacks in Aleppo: activists

(Reuters) – Syrian military helicopters dropped more improvised “barrel bombs” on the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, a monitoring group said, bringing the death toll to at least 83 people in the latest episode of a campaign many consider a war crime. Most of the victims killed since Friday have been civilians from the city’s eastern districts, including women and children, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a broad […]

UNICEF Ambassador Angie Harmon returns from Nicaragua, urges public to help protect children

Actress and UNICEF Ambassador Angie Harmon recently returned from a visit to Nicaragua, where she traveled to bring attention to the horrors of child trafficking within the Central American country and across the globe. During her trip Harmon witnessed UNICEF programs to protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse and spoke with adolescent girls and boys about their experiences. During her trip, Harmon travelled to the Northern town of San Lucas where she witnessed efforts […]

Thousands protest vs Western Australian government’s shark culling programme

Thousands of people protested at various beaches across Australia on Saturday (February 1) to voice opposition to the Western Australian Government’s controversial shark culling programme. Up to 6,000 people gathered at Cottelsoe Beach in Perth holding up placards and chanting “rights, rights, rights for great whites.” At Manly, one of Sydney’s surfing beaches, about 2,000 people turned up to show support for the sharks. “We are surfers, we are divers, we walk the beach, we love the beach, we love the […]

Demolition experts bring down Frankfurt skyscraper

Thousands of spectators have watched the demolition of a skyscraper in Frankfurt that once formed part of the university. The collapse took all of ten seconds. Almost one ton of explosives inserted into 1,500 drilled holes were used on Sunday to raze the so-called “AfE Turm” (“AfE Tower”), standing at 116 meters (381 ft). Police estimate that more than 10,000 people gathered in the center of Germany’s financial hub Frankfurt to watch the spectacular demolition. […]

Indonesia’s Mt. Sinabung volcano erupts, kills at least 14 people

(Reuters) — Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung volcano erupted and killed at least 14 people on the western island of Sumatra on Saturday (February 1), the first time it is known to have claimed any lives, a senior government official said. The volcano has becoming increasingly active in recent months, regularly spewing columns of ash several kilometres into the air. The government has evacuated tens of thousands of residents near the area. The head of the evacuation team, […]

Canada strips newspaper publisher Conrad Black of honors

(Reuters) —  Canada has canceled two prestigious honors for Conrad Black, who once ran a newspaper empire stretching from the Chicago Sun-Times to Britain’s Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post but who ended up in U.S. prison for fraud. The government on Friday (January 31) terminated his appointment as an officer of the Order ofCanada, which recognizes a lifetime of high achievement and merit. It also removed him from the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, ostensibly a group of cabinet ministers and other prominent Canadians appointed […]